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Congratulations, Class of 2012!

June, 2012
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ycis-sh-celestCelest Dines, graduate of Yew Chung International School of Shanghai, is hoping to attend either the University of Melbourne or the University of Queensland to study either Medicine or Physiotherapy. She will also continue studying Chinese alongside the Bachelor’s degree.

I’ve had a fantastic time here. Shanghai is such a great city and this is a really exciting time to be in China. Having grown up here like I have is something I am incredibly grateful for. It’s such a wonderful opportunity; I wouldn’t have it any other way.

My high school years at YCIS have also been great. I can’t say I enjoyed doing IB but I have definitely grown from the experience, and I think the program, as well as the teachers who have taught it, have prepared us well for university. I can also say that, in spite of the time-consuming marathon that is IB, I have made lasting memories with my friends, teachers, teammates and coaches at YCIS over the last two years.

Trying to pinpoint one event or memory would be impossible, but one of the things that I will miss the most at YCIS is sports: teammates, coaches, training, games, ACAMIS and SISAC tournaments, sports dinners and one particularly memorable ACAMIS Girls Basketball final are all things that I will remember fondly. My time at YCIS would not have been the same without sports and I have many people to thank for that.

Well, I think the international exposure we get from everyone in the community is obvious, but teachers here also tend to be younger on average than teachers would be back in our own countries, which mean we have a better opportunity to relate to them. The fact that we share membership in the expat community with our teachers also provides a similar platform. This year alone I have had teachers from Australia, UK, China, Zambia, Mauritius, New Zealand and Germany. I think the diversity brings with it many different teaching styles, which in turn helps us as students to figure out how we, personally, learn best.

I have made some very close friends here. I actually recently realized that, to me, the definition of a close friend is one who I know I will make the effort to see, and who I believe will make the effort to see me, even when we live as far apart as is physically possible. My friends here are literally going all over the world for university or travel, so YCIS is the only thing that ties us all together – it’s the only place we have in common. I think that living here in an expat community away from extended families and with a relatively smaller number of people our age to socialize with helps us form strong friendships, but it also means that we don’t get the opportunity that so many graduates do of going to the same university together as well.

I started at YCIS in Year 4, when I was 8 years old, and now I’ve just graduated at 17 so I’ve been here for nearly 10 years now. I was at the Montessori School for kindergarten and primary in Beijing before I came to Shanghai so I’ve grown up with international schooling. My farewell speech details a lot of what I think we gain from the international experience as well as from having that experience in China. I think one of the best things is the irreversible broadening of perspectives. By just being here, open-mindedness comes naturally to us, as does acceptance of change or, at least, our ability to adapt. I say that because I didn’t realize I possessed those qualities until I went and talked to people my age in my home countries. It made me see that it was something all my friends here had and that I had accepted as the status quo.

Words for fellow students at YCIS:Don’t rush to graduate. It will come eventually, and passes very quickly, so you may as well enjoy the time you have here with everyone while you have it. 

ycis-sh-sunnySunny Baek, graduate of Yew Chung International School of Shanghai, is going to California Institute of the Arts to study Character Animation.

Now I’m feeling both happy and sad. I feel happy because now I have finished IB Art. I’m sad because I need to leave YCIS and Shanghai soon, where I had such precious experiences. I’m also sorry I cannot meet my friends and teachers anymore, because actually they were my first foreign friends.

My years at YCIS and my life in Shanghai are totally different from my life in Korea. Compared to life in my hometown, YCIS and Shanghai are more exciting, difficult and precious at the same time. Whilst I could only study regular subjects and fine arts when I was in Korea, I could take much more various extracurricular activities and have more experiences at YCIS, such as our Year 12 Thailand Trip, and study with other students who have various backgrounds and personalities.

The most memorable thing I’ve done that I am especially proud of during my time at YCIS is the IB Art Show. For me, it was not just for the art exam with the IB examiner, but it was also a reward for more than two years of hard work. Displaying whole pieces of art which I have made in a real gallery to other people was really the most memorable and unforgettable experience in my life.

When I first came to Shanghai and went to YCIS, the types of people and their different personalities and habits surprised me. For me, to become used to a totally different environment and learning English was a little difficult. Even though I had difficulties in getting used to new surroundings and meeting new people, the students helped me get used to the new environment. When I asked teachers about difficult questions or could not understand the homework, they always helped me.

I chose to take IB Art because I am highly interested in art and also because I have confidence in my art skills. I went to art high school when I was in Korea.

Actually, IB Art was the most difficult subject among my classes. This is because whilst the Korean art program is highly focused on skills and techniques for realistic expression, the art program in YCIS concentrated on background concepts, content and research. I did not study for research or develop concepts as deep and broad as in this art program, so it was not easy to get used to this new curriculum. I had to make 12 to 20 pieces of art by developing one subject in various ways, and each piece had to be produced by researching my culture, and by comparing and analyzing past and present artists. All of that comparison and analysis should influence my works of art. The impact had to be shown in my pieces of art, and I had to be able to explain that influence to the examiner. There were some regulations, tips and rules for IB Art, but otherwise the use of materials and choice of topics were all free and totally dependent on the students. That was another challenge for taking IB Art and producing pieces of art, as I had to find the most effective medium to show my topic. I had to experiment with 2 to 3 different materials to express my idea, and the way to find the most effective material was through experimentation.

The art room in YCIS has various tools and materials, which promoted my imagination and made my imagination broader. Through taking IB Art, expanding the limitation of imagination also needs a great amount of effort and time. I studied the works of artists and I learned the techniques and concepts of other students from different countries, cultures and backgrounds. In particular, I was highly influenced by modern artists. I want to be a great modern artist like them and have an impact on other students and audiences. I want to be an animation director and achieve this dream.

I have been in Shanghai for more than 2 years. I moved from Korea and started the IB program in Year 12 straightaway. In my opinion, experiences in an international school are good for my future, because I could take higher-quality academic courses in international surroundings and have different experiences. All of that will help me to go into a broader world and when I challenge myself to go for my dream.


ycis-sh-ashwaryaAshwarya Chandak (2nd on the left), graduate of Yew Chung International School of Shanghai, will be studying Economics and Finance at the University of Hong Kong.

As clichéd as it may sound, graduating has been bittersweet – both an ending and a beginning. There is a sense of relief and accomplishment knowing that high school and IB are done. At least for the summer, there won’t be the pressure of meeting deadlines or handing in internal assessments on time. However, I will miss everything; even the little things that I previously took for granted and hadn’t given much thought to. I will miss Shanghai, the campus, my friends, teachers and YCIS.

I have often been told how lucky I am to have been brought up in a glitzy metropolis like Shanghai. Shanghai is a vibrant city where there are always new things to do. I have been living in Shanghai since I was one year old, and seeing the city develop right in front of my eyes has been amazing. My high school years at YCIS have been memorable. At YCIS, it wasn’t just about studying - there was much more to be involved with outside the classroom such as the Creativity, Action, Service part of IB which made my time there very enjoyable.

I have done so many things at YCIS that I am proud of. In June 2010, at the end of the IGCSE exams, my entire class organized a fundraising event for a charity called Home Sweet Home, which helped physically challenged people by providing them with work and shelter. My friends and I organized a dance group and gave many performances during the day to raise funds. It was incredible seeing everyone work together to support the cause, and even people who hardly knew each other got together as one to actively raise funds. We ended up raising much more money than expected.

In a school as diverse as YCIS, you inevitably get friends from all over the world and some become friends for life. Whenever you feel you are behind or find it hard to understand something, the teachers are supportive and are always there for you. I wouldn’t be where I am today if not for the quality education and strong values of YCIS. The dedication of the teachers is inspiring and humbling.

I have been studying at YCIS since Year 1, so it has been my only international school experience. The diverse international body at YCIS helped me develop a healthy international outlook and embrace different perspectives, with many of us not even realizing it. Going to an international school in China has even more advantages: we could easily learn Chinese, which is becoming an important language, and we studied Chinese culture as well as many other cultures. Overall, international school has helped us become global citizens, and helped prepare us for this increasingly globalized world.

Words for fellow students at YCIS: Enjoy every moment, never give up and, most importantly, don’t forget to stop and smell the roses because secondary school and IB will be over much quicker than you think!


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